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Christ Church Library & Archives

Volume 9, 2012-2013

Volume 9, 2012-2013

Volume 8, 2011-2012

Volume 8, 2011-2012

Trinity 2011

Trinity 2011












The spacious College Library is an important resource centre, primarily intended to provide undergraduate readers with the books they need for their studies. There is also a separate Law Library with a valuable and increasing collection of legal works. Christ Church Library contains what is probably the largest and richest collection of early printed books and manuscripts in Oxford after the Bodleian Library. Its holdings are of international importance and are particularly rich in music, theology, classics, travel books, numismatics, early science, medicine and Hebrew studies. Christ Church Upper Library offers numerous workshops and exhibitions of rare books and manuscripts from its vast and priceless collections. Visiting hours for the Upper Library are as follows: Monday: 2:00 pm - 4.30 pm; Tuesday - Thursday: 10.00 am - 1.00 pm; 2:00 pm - 4.30 pm; Friday: 10:00 am - 1.00 pm.

Vacation opening hours: Monday - Friday: 8.00 am - 5.00 pm.
Library closed: 17  - 1 September 2015.


Lewis Carroll and the Art of Photography in the 19th Century

Over the summer of 2015, starting with Alice's Day on 4 July, Christ Church Library will host an exhibition of Lewis Carroll photographs. This exhibition will navigate the medium's early history, bringing together a selection of photographs from the Library's archives, as well as (on loan) from an extensive private collection.

Lewis Carroll Collections

Christ Church’s collections of material relating to Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) are currently being listed, and will be added to over the coming weeks and months.  A link to the spreadsheet of the college collection can be accessed on the page dedicated to the Library's Special Collections.  The other collections will follow in due course. Digital images of 150 items from the college’s collection will be mounted here to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland in 1865.

More Digitized Manuscripts Available

For more than a year now, the Library has been producing high-quality digital images of a wide range of manuscripts and can now provide an interactive web application  and supporting descriptive material for a new selection of codices from Christ Church Library's main collections. The most recent digitized manuscripts include the Epistolary commissioned by Thomas Wolsey (MS 101); the Ordinances of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, an illuminated manuscript depicting King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, at the moment at the exhibitions on the Tudors at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris (MS 179); an exquisite calligraphic manuscript by Esther Inglis for Queen Elizabeth I (MS 180); a ninth century Byzantine chorography (MS 5); a unique seventeenth century Hebrew manuscript containing three opinions on the question whether the children of the secret Jews in Portugal born of Christian women have the same rights in the Jewish world as the Jews themselves (MS 199); an early copy of a famous correspondence between the head of the Jewish community in Cordova, Spain and the king of the Khazars (MS 193); the oldest extant copy the oldest extant copy of William Byrd’s Mass for 3, 4 and 5 voices (Mus 489-493) and Robert Dow’s partbooks, copied in Oxford around 1580 (Mus 984-988). To view all these, please go to Digitization Project and select the collection you would like to explore.

New Printing Workshop in the Upper Library

As a result of the popularity of 'Gutenberg' letter press classes, we shall continue the  printing series of workshops in the Upper Library. We had a chance to bring over a working replica of an eighteenth century wooden copper plate rolling press such as that used by Hogarth, Gillray, and many others before the advent of the cast iron rolling press in 1820s. The next workshop in the series is scheduled for Tuesday, 16 June 2015 at 5:15 pm.

Copper Impressions: Printmakers and Publishing in the 18th Century

To complement the copper plate rolling press and the printing workshops scheduled for Trinity 2015, a new exhibition has opened in the Upper Library. The exhibition illustrates what might have been printed on the wooden intaglio rolling press such as the one on display and presents works by some of the most famous engravers of the 18th century. On show are prints (by masters like Hogarth and Gillray) in various states (finished, working proofs and printed proposals), a selection of preparatory drawings, a copperplate, and bits of ephemera, to show how publishers went about their marketing. Visiting hours: Monday: 2:00 pm - 4.30 pm; Tuesday - Thursday: 10.00 am - 1.00 pm;  2:00 pm - 4.30 pm; Friday: 10:00 am - 1.00 pm.

Thomas Tallis Workshop in the Upper Library

On Monday, 16 February 2015, at 5.15 pm, Dr DEAN JOBIN-BEVANS (Lakehead University, ON Canada) will give a talk on What the Sources Reveal: A closer look at the Litany attributed to Thomas Tallis. We plan to have singers accompany the talk.

Workshop on early printing and casting type

Due to popular demand, MARTIN ANDREWS & ALAN MAY have agreed to another workshop on early printing and casting type. The workshop will take place in the Upper Library at Christ Church, on Monday 9 February 2015 at 5.15 pm. The workshop will provide an intensive hands-on introduction to how the first presses worked.

Online database of ancient tiles in the Allestree Library finalized

The Allestree Library is a separate library, in the care of Christ Church Library, bequeathed by Richard Allestree in 1681 for the use of the Regius Professor of Divinity and his successors. The books in the library are an obvious and precious feature, but the room also contains one of Christ Church’s real hidden treasures. The floor is covered with medieval floor tiles, most of which appear to come from St Frideswide’s Priory – now the Cathedral. The images of these tiles are now all reproduced  on Paving-Tile watercolours Online, which is hosted by the Ashmolean Museum. To see them, please go to TileWeb.

Mus 979-83: Fully digitized Tudor partbooks available for browsing

Christ Church Library and the Bodleian Library have joined efforts in a new digitization project with the aim of opening up the rich repository of manuscripts and rare early printed books at Christ Church. Over the course of the next few years, thousands of pages from this outstanding collection will be made freely available online to researchers and to the general public.

Ancient and Modern Coins in the Collection of Archbishop Wake

The exhibition re-opened on 15 October 2014. The aim is to present selected works from William Wake's extensive numismatic library, together with original coins, 18th and 19th century casts of coins and electrotypes. Wake's collection contains predominantly ancient coins. He was one of the major 18th century collectors of Greek and Roman coins. However, there is a very interesting section on modern coins and material from it will be part of this exhibition organised in collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum.

Christ Church Library Newsletter 

a publication documenting and interpreting aspects of the collection
ISSN 1756-6797 (Print), ISSN 1756-6800 (Online).

Contents this issue:
♦ Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: The 150 Anniversary
♦ The Provenance of Hebrew MS 199
♦ Robert Burton: The Melancholy Librarian
♦ C.L. Woolley: Digging for Burton in the Library
♦ Aldrich, Tallis and Playing without Barlines
♦ Peckwater Quad's London Connection
♦ Young Thomas Wolsey
♦ The Real Alice and the Common Room Cat
♦  Antiquarian Cataloguing and Proofreading
♦  Digitizing Manuscripts at Christ Church

Among the contributors: Edward Wakeling, Jeremy Pfeffer, J.B. Bamborough, John Wing, Dean Jobin Bevans, Laurence Dryfus, Richard Faircliff, Peter Eley, Janet McMullin, David Stumpp and Cristina Neagu.

The Viscount Portal Papers

Letters and memoranda exchanged during the war, both between Viscount Portal, Churchill and the principal RAF commanders. This collection presents those wartime papers which Portal had collated and subsequently bequeathed to his former college in Oxford. Detailed lists of contents are available online.


Please note that visiting readers will not necessarily be able to access the library's wifi network. Readers from other academic institutions should be able to use Eduroam (please ensure that this is set up before you leave your home institution). Anyone else who knows he/she will require internet access should inform us of this in advance of a visit.





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